As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I wonder how the teens I work with think about it. The events of September 11, 2001 are certainly etched into my memory—but today’s teens weren’t even born when these attacked happened. Does 9/11 feel far away and removed to them? Do they wonder what it was like to live through those traumatic times?
In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers:
The Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, and Years after the 9/11 Attacks
by Don Brown
Etch / Clarion Books / HMH, 2021
Amazon / your local library / Overdrive
ages 12 and up
Beginning with the attack on the World Trade Center, readers are put right at ground zero. Brown bases his chronicle on firsthand accounts of survivors. Their direct words are used throughout the book, creating the sense that these people are talking directly to the reader. Moving quickly from the explosion, Brown captures the immediate aftermath, with claustrophobic images of survivors trapped in the rubble, exhausted first responders, and the immensity of the task.
The Google Books preview below helps you see how effective the graphic novel style for conveying this information:
The story continues beyond the initial attacks, as Brown shows the American response to the attacks, including war in Afghanistan, interrogation of political prisoners, and a rise in Islamaphobic incidents in the US. He concludes with an informative afterward and extensive bibliography.
Hand this to fans of graphic novels, and show them how powerfully this format can be used to convey factual information. As with his other nonfiction, Don Brown masterfully captures the humanity and urgent fight for survival, bringing readers right into the scene.
The digital review copy came from the publishers, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.
©2021 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books